Service Pays Tribute To Law Student

Family and friends gathered in Harvard Law School’s Ames Courtroom last night to commemorate Shirin Shakir, a second-year Harvard Law student who died in a white water rafting accident in Cusco, Peru over spring break.

Law School Dean Elena Kagan began the memorial service by describing how Shakir had “focused on the positive, often with good humor” in life.

“Perhaps we can take some comfort in the fact that she died as she lived, surrounded by friends, on an adventure,” Kagan said.

Although Shakir was a successful student, those gathered focused not on her numerous achievements, but on her way of life.

“She didn’t just live life—she celebrated it,” said Shakir’s classmate Elizabeth A. Lewis.

As classmates shared stories about Shakir’s life, they reminisced about her sense of humor.

“She refused to take herself seriously,” said classmate Matthew A. Long. “She was beautiful and brilliant, and she definitely knew those things, but she didn’t take that as an excuse to not laugh at herself.”

Long described how he first met Shakir in a lecture, where she was shopping online for rubber boots instead of taking notes.

“She said, ‘The final isn’t for months, but it could rain tomorrow,’” Long recalled.

Long also showed a short slide show he had prepared of images of Shakir enjoying the company of her friends, as well as photographs of her many travels. Kagan said that Shakir’s many trips to India, and her cross-cultural background—Indian and American—inspired her to work to bring the two worlds together.

“She wanted to use her considerable talent to make the world a better place,” Kagan said.

Kagan also presented Shakir’s family with a certificate honoring Shakir’s numerous contributions to Harvard Law School. Shakir was a member of the International Law Society, the Harvard Law School Council, and the Public Interest Auction.

“Shirin was involved in everything, but she always had time for fun,” Lewis said.

As a member of the Law School Council, Shakir worked to improve the social life at Harvard Law School.

“She loved a good party, and she felt that everyone here didn’t laugh enough,” Long said. “She loved to bring people together.”

Shakir’s brother Taaha Shakir, who was the last to speak, ended the memorial service by reminding those present of Shakir’s love of fun.

“I was looking at her resume today,” he said. “She has a gorgeous resume, and at the end, where she mentions interests, she said ‘I Like Mets’ Games.’ I know we could cry for her, but she wouldn’t want us to.”

After the service, guests were invited to pause in front of a pink dogwood tree planted between Langdell Law Library and the Lewis International Law Center in honor of Shakir. Pink, her friends noted, was Shakir’s favorite color.